Tuakana Teina Programme wraps for 2023

Tuakana Teina (Mentor/Mentee) is based on the principle of ako (two-way learning) drawing on shared experiences, knowledge and support.

Our Tuakana Teina Programme concluded with an in-person event for the teina (mentees) in Auckland during the last week of November 2023. This was the second time the group had met in person and the conversations and atmosphere in the room felt like reuniting with old friends.

The day started off with some general updates before one by one our teina shared their greatest learnings from their tuakana (mentor). There were some absolute pearls of wisdom, such as:

  • Trusting yourself, and leaning into other board members
  • Revisiting why you are here, and whether it aligns with your values.
  • Asking ourselves if we (the organisation) are better off at the end of a meeting than when we began.
  • Ignoring imposter syndrome and embracing our true selves and values.
  • Focusing on the process, not the person.

As our teina shared what their year Chairing not-for-profit boards had been like, it was clear that many similar themes were emerging. These included the importance of role clarity and setting boundaries, having a structure and clear direction, being authentic, building and nurturing relationships with stakeholders, and collective decision-making.

Impacts affecting our sector

The potential impacts on mental health and the sheer weight of being a Chair was openly discussed. Being in a Chair’s role can be an isolating experience, especially without proper support networks in place. The Tuakana Teina programme aims to create safe spaces where our teina can learn from both their tuakana as well as building strong peer networks with each other.

During the year, several Chairs found themselves at crossroads with their respective organisations, and some even reached crisis point. One of the teina revealed that “there was no way they would have survived in this space without the support of their tuakana”.

Learning from our Tuakana

Governance expert Susan Huria discussed the dynamics of the Chair/Chief Executive relationship. Susan shared that “the language of governance is asking questions”.

We held a panel discussion about the nuances of chairing a not-for-profit board with Judy Whiteman, Richard Easton and Rawiri Bhana with Chief Executive of Community Governance Aotearoa Rose Hiha-Agnew facilitating the session.

The final session completed the day with a workshop session on “ethics” presented by Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors (IoD), Kirsten Patterson (KP).

Community Governance Aotearoa funded this year’s cohort with support from Department of Internal Affairs. The Tuakana – Teina programme is a National Action Plan initiative.

Since we launched our Tuakana-Teina programme we have had 50 Teina Chairs of Not-for-Profits go through the programme and increase their governance knowledge, capability and skills.

New cohort starting 2024

The application process will be announced in December for our next cohort, and we can’t wait to see what the next intake will bring.

Watch this space for more details!

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